Optimising your content to land featured snippets on search
Updated 6 October 2022
Let's discuss what featured snippets are, the main benefits and how to optimise your content to land them. So, let’s snippet real good!
The goal of SEO is to improve your search rankings for high value keywords to your business. The last few years have seen an evolution in page 1 SERPs (search engine results page) for Google and other search engines. This has included the prevalence of featured snippets. Subsequently, this has created the opportunity to improve your rankings overnight by implementing some optimisation to your content with the aim of gaining these featured snippets.
What are featured snippets?
A featured snippet is a block of content which shows up usually at the top of a first-page search result. It is typically the exact answer to what is being searched by the user. It has been labelled position “0” as it is ahead of position 1 of the search results.
To give you an example of this, let’s do a search for “what are featured snippets” (just for some blogging inception). You will see below an example of this featured snippet for this search query:
As you can see before there are any traditional search results you get this amazing box of information for the website that Google has deemed, solves this question the best.
As you will see Google does tend to include images with the featured snippet. Amazingly the image and the text source can come from two different sources.
Featured snippets provide a good user experience
The idea behind the featured snippet was to make the user experience for Google users easier. If someone is looking for a quick answer, they get it. Googles algorithm does the hard work of finding the best answer and provides the answer in a helpful succinct manner.
So you can see the power of applying optimisation to landing these snippets.
What are the benefits of featured snippets?
While featured snippets have been around for over 5 years now. It is still a majorly untapped optimisation that many marketers and digital agencies fail to capitalise on. Leaving a HUGE opportunity within which every category you are currently in.
3 reasons your business should go after featured snippets:
While many continue to still refer to the AHREFs study on position 1 vs the position 0 (snippet). This has proven to be wrong by the team at Sistrix. When a snippet if featured 23.3% of clicks go to the snippet and 20.5% goes to the 1st search result. Given you cannot feature on the traditional search results and land the snippet. The data says, go after the snippet if you want more traffic.
This path of optimising for snippets will also allow you to move forward with the voice search trend. When 27% of the global population is using voice search on mobile, you know the trend has moved fast. Using this tactic will help you rank for all types of search.
It will help with your clout and trust. When a potential customer sees that Google is recognising you as a reliable source of information about a category. This acts as a gauge of authority and trust to the user. This will help build your websites overall influence within the category you play in.
What are the different types of featured snippets?
The above example was one of the three main types of snippets. This was the paragraph with images featured snippet. There are another two which are:
As the name suggests this is a featured snippet which is in list form, either bulleted or numbered. These usually apply for things like top X lists, best x product, step by step guides and recipes.
Again as the name suggests this is a snippet which is featured as a table. This is typically applied to comparison charts and data.
How to optimise your content for featured snippets.
The first step of optimising for featured snippets is to understand whether or not there are snippets to optimise for. There are several ways this can be done.
Step 1: Finding search queries to optimise for:
Using Google Search to find snippet opportunities
Let’s use an example. You happen to be in the category of air conditioning. You have an article about installing air conditioners. You notice that the search term “air conditioner installation price” has a featured snippet.
You will also notice the box “People also ask”. This is also a great indicator of other snippets you can optimise for. Given, while they are not snippets as discussed, these also act similar Googles algorithm scours the net for these answers.
Using SEO Tools to find snippet opportunities
Our go-to tool at Honest Fox is SEMRush. Other similar tools have similar features. The below screenshots will walk you through the process for finding featured snippets using SEMRush.
Using the keyword research area, type in your keyword. In this case ‘air conditioning’.
Scroll down and click view all keywords.
SEMrush has this amazing ability to filter keywords to find out what search queries have a featured snippet. Do this by clicking advanced filters and scroll to ‘featured snippet’, select and press apply. There you have a list of search terms which have a featured snippet:
Step 2: Optimising your content to land featured snippets
The beauty of landing featured snippets is that you don’t have to be on page one to get them. Which is a big opportunity if you execute this correctly. It could mean literally going from position 33 to featured snippet if done correctly.
Either your main page title or a supporting heading is in line with the target snippet query. This is then followed immediately by you giving the answer to the query. Then you follow this up with supporting content.
Formatting your content is crucial to landing this snippet. Here are some tips:
Make sure you have clear heading tags to point out what content is answering.
Format inline with the snippet:
A paragraph snippet > Bold the target snippet answer following the heading.
A table snippet or list > format accordingly a table for a table and a list or bullets for a list.
Use a relevant image next to the snippet and get the alt image tag in line with the snippet you are trying to land.
Get the correct word count. Make sure that optimised section of content is anywhere between 40-58 words in length. As this is the typical length of content shown on featured snippets.
While this article has been about optimising your current content to land these snippets. It also represents a great opportunity for new content, that is created to rank and land snippets.
We discuss in another post about answering your audience content. This is also the perfect content to help land featured snippets. Again the key is in finding the opportunities and simply optimising in-line with what Google is looking for.
Now get snipping!
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Head of Marketing